6 early signs of illness to look out for and the order in which they may appear

Dementia is an incurable disease that can slowly creep up on you.

The early symptoms are so vague that they can easily be dismissed as a normal part of aging.

B41Y6D A woman in her fifties with her head in her hands. Photo taken 09/2008. Exact date unknown.


B41Y6D A woman in her fifties with her head in her hands. Photo taken 09/2008. Exact date unknown.Credit: Alamy

And because dementia affects people in different ways, the symptoms may not always be obvious.

But failure to spot early signs often means people go years without a diagnosis.

Although the disease cannot be reversed, there are a number of benefits to being diagnosed as soon as possible.

This includes making decisions about your future and using resources while you still can.

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The NHS says there are some common early signs of dementia, which can appear some time before diagnosis.

Read on to find out what they are.

1. lose sight of money

Research has shown that money management problems can arise years before dementia is diagnosed.

For example, a study led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that those diagnosed were more likely to have missed bill payments up to six years before diagnosis.

They were also more likely to have had subprime credit ratings for up to two and a half years prior to diagnosis.

Another Duke University Medical Center study found that those with early signs of dementia on brain scans — who had no diagnosis — performed worse on financial tests.

dr Murali Doraiswamy, professor of psychiatry and geriatrics and senior author of the article, said: “There has been a misconception that financial difficulties can only occur in the late stages of dementia, but this can happen early and the changes can be subtle. ”

There are a number of reasons why this symptom can appear.

It can be due to declining organizational skills, an overestimation of finances or simply forgetting to pay a bill.

Money mismanagement has been observed more specifically for Alzheimer’s disease, with the NHS saying “difficulty with numbers and/or handling money in shops” was a key symptom.

2. Memory loss

We all forget things as we get older.

It’s hard to tell if aging is just making you forgetful or possibly developing dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is the most common form.

Katie Puckering, head of Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Information Services team, said the main difference is the memory loss and other symptoms that affect day-to-day functioning.

She explained that when someone misplaces their keys, they can usually retrace their steps.

Katie told The Sun: “This process of retrieving the information is just a little bit slower as people get older.

“With dementia, someone may not be able to remember that information and what they were doing when they came into the house.

“What can also happen is they put it somewhere it really doesn’t belong. For example, instead of putting the milk back in the fridge, they put the kettle in the fridge.”

3. confusion

Confusion is a key feature of dementia from the onset.

This can affect daily life as it becomes more difficult to understand daily tasks such as B. counting small change when shopping.

The Alzheimer’s Association says, “People living with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time.

“You may have trouble understanding something if it doesn’t happen right away. Sometimes they might forget where they are or how they got there.”

It said it’s normal to be confused about the day of the week but find out later.

Examples of how confusion can show up in the life of a person with dementia are: sleeping during the day and staying up at night, preparing for a social event on the wrong day, getting lost in a place with which one is very familiar.

4. Losing a sense of humor or sarcasm

As we get older, we can become a bit more grumpy or perhaps irritable when our usual routine is disrupted.

However, people with dementia appear to be more anxious or anxious, which is compounded by symptoms such as forgetting where they are.

They may seem depressed or withdrawn and have no interest in hobbies they used to love.

They may be suspicious or angry because of their confusion, such as blaming someone else for moving an object they don’t remember moving themselves.

Katie Puckering, information services manager at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said losing the ability to catch a joke could be an early symptom of dementia.

She told Eat This Not That, “If you find that your sense of humor has changed significantly, it might be worth seeking medical advice.”

dr Katherine Rankin, a neuropsychologist at the University of California, San Francisco, found that people with frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s have a harder time understanding sarcasm.

Her research also found that people with frontotemporal dementia couldn’t tell when someone was lying, although people with Alzheimer’s disease could.

5. trouble finding the words

We all have times when the words we want are “on the tip of the tongue.”

But the NHS says “struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word” is an early warning sign of dementia.

Someone with dementia who has trouble communicating may have a confused expression on their face, or just nod or laugh instead of responding to a question.

You can stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue.

They can ask questions or repeat something they said 30 seconds earlier. For example, they might retell you a story as if you’ve never heard it, even though they told you 20 minutes ago.

People with dementia often start using the wrong words for things, but this may not be obvious at first.

For example, they can describe an object instead of calling it by its name. For example, they might call a watch a wristwatch.

6. Forget how to use things

People with dementia may not be able to do things they have been doing every day their whole life, such as B. buttoning a shirt.

This is a side effect of losing coordination skills.

Other examples include the inability to tie shoelaces, use cutlery or a jar opener.

Oddly enough, people who lose the knowledge of how to use things seem to still be very competent in other areas of their lives.

When people use their coordination skills and spatial awareness slowly, they may be more prone to accidents and falls, another sign that could be confused with aging. 6 early signs of illness to look out for and the order in which they may appear

Tom Vazquez

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